Giovanni van Bronckhorst described Sunday’s defeat at FC Groningen as his side’s worst performance in his time as head ...
Feyenoord drew the short straw in the weekend’s Gateshead Cup, ending up in fourth place, but coach Gullit refused to be downhearted. The Rotterdammers posted draws against Sporting Lisbon and Glasgow Rangers, but lost the resulting penalty shoot-out on both occasions. ‘The biggest plus this weekend was that we have started to understand that we don’t need to be afraid of anyone. And that’s a good feeling.’
Pointing up the performances of Smolarek, Kalou and Bosschaart in the Sabbath share of the spoils with Rangers, Gullit was especially pleased to see his whole squad stand up and be counted. ‘It’s nice to see that we have good players in reserve for various positions. We gave away few chances and made a lot of our own. That’s a good foundation on which to build. The heart of the team is always the most important. It’s something you can build around. So it was good to see this weekend that I have various options.’
Feyenoord were unable to convert any of those chances against the Scots, but Gullit was relatively unconcerned with that. ‘It would be worse if we could not create any chances at all. Danko could have had two, but he was a little unlucky. It can happen.’
Gullit saw his charges draw with Sporting Lisbon Saturday, only to flounder at the penalty spot, but was satisfied with what he was shown. ‘Apart from a hesitant start I felt we were better than Sporting Lisbon. We managed to generate far more chances and did not give away a single chance in the second half, for example.’
That defensive strength was a welcome boost for Gullit. ‘I have tried to make it clear that a good defence starts with the strikers. In the system I want to use defence cannot be left to the defenders only. We have to learn to defend as a team. That went quite well today as the game progressed. We left Sporting with very little space to play. It’s not perfect yet, but that’s not possible in this period. We are still fine-tuning things’.
Newcomer Saidi made a satisfactory impression. ‘He isn’t fully fit and hasn’t played for a long time, but you could see what kind of guy he is. Saidi is a player who thinks purely as a defender. We have a great need of someone with that kind of attitude’.
Gullit admitted he isn’t completely convinced about the value of the diamond for Feyenoord yet. ‘We have a couple of good wingers in the squad for the right and left flanks. It would be a pity if we didn’t use them.’
Feyenoord-Sporting Lisbon 1-1 (Sporting win penalty shoot-out 3-4)
39’ 0-1 Vieira (a header from a corner)
56’ 1-1 Kuyt (a lob, after Buffel had dispossessed left-back Paita)
Babos; Gyan (46’ Zuiverloon), Saidi (46’ Loovens), Paauwe, Bosschaart; Smolarek, Ghaly (55’ Mtiliga), Ono, Goor 72’ Magrao), Buffel (81’ Lazovic), Kuyt.
Feyenoord-Glasgow Rangers 0-0 (Rangers win penalty shoot-out 8-7)
Babos; Gyan (46’ Zuiverloon), Van den Berg, Paauwe, Mtiliga; Smolarek (46’ Castelen), Bosschaart (Pardo), Ono, Goor; Kalou, Lazovic